Audio Note | AN/E Series | Owner`s manual | Audio Note AN/E Series Owner`s manual

Audio Note AN/E Series Owner`s manual
Music’s Finest Conductor
AN-E Loudspeaker Owner’s Manual
Table of Contents
Introduction
1
Unpacking Instructions
2
Loudspeaker Placement
3
Connection
4
Warranty Information
7
Running In
8
Care & Maintenance
8
Specifications
9
Contact Information
9
Introduction
Congratulations on your purchase of a pair of Audio Note™ AN-E loudspeakers! We
hope and expect that they will give you many years of musical enjoyment and
trouble-free listening. And, whether you know it or not, you’ve just struck a blow
in the service of Music.
Far too much of the high-end audio marketplace is occupied by low-efficiency
loudspeaker systems – several less-than-ideally-matched drivers and a very
complex, (read: life-sucking), crossover – all housed in a cabinet doing its best
impression of reinforced concrete or petrified wood. Of necessity, they are paired
with high-powered, nearly always solid-state amplifiers in an attempt to jump-start
their (and your) hearts. 10 times the power applied to a speaker which is 10dB less
efficient will produce the requisite sound pressure level, but what about coherency,
full natural micro-, as well as macro-, dynamics, inner detail? What about LIFE?
What about the musicians’ delivery of their and the composer’s EMOTION? Sorry,
they’re just not part of the “High Performance Audio” design brief. And Music suffers
for it.
The design of the AN-E Loudspeaker, by contrast, calls for a cabinet made from
materials that complement the workings of the chosen drive units. Instead of trying
to kill the resonances in the cabinet, we tailor the cabinet to place the resonances in
frequency bands where they aid and enhance the operation of the drive units,
culminating in a loudspeaker system that makes the most of the preceding
amplifier’s output.
The drive units employed in the AN-E have been developed with our very active
participation and are manufactured to our specifications.
The crossover is simple – essentially first order – hardwired and incorporates careful
location of components, both in relation to each other, and also in relation to the
woofer’s magnet, which influences the behaviour of the crossover a great deal. The
crossover uses air-cored chokes and select bipolar and polypropylene capacitors.
(In the Signature models, copper foil, and in the Sogon, silver foil.) The AN-E
internal cabling consists of varying numbers of either 99.99% pure copper or
99.99% pure silver wire, depending on the exact model. (See specifications.)
This combination of design approach, parts quality and manufacturing process yields
an extremely even load characteristic as well as a very flat power/frequency
response that remains within tightly controlled limits throughout its working
bandwidth.
Each complete loudspeaker is individually adjusted under dynamic operating
conditions, using proprietary software, in order to compensate for the slight
variations that always exist in drive units and assures precise uniformity of sonic
performance. This individual adjustment, and matching to a reference, of each
crossover network to each pair of drive units allows an unparalleled degree of
sample-to-sample consistency not only within pairs of loudspeakers, but also from
one pair to another. Each of you’re an-E loudspeaker’s performance is within
0.4dB of its mate and our reference response curve. To the best of our
knowledge, no other loudspeaker manufacturer achieves such close matching and
tests 100% of its production.
The result? Maximum efficiency and dynamic behaviour. And Life. And Emotion.
Retained and delivered with goose bumps. Your Music will thank you.
1
Unpacking Instructions
To easily remove the loudspeaker from its carton, fold the four bottom flaps
outward. Then, holding the inner packing material in place, tip the box over onto its
open end and simply lift the carton away.
If there are any signs of shipping damage, inform your dealer at once.
Be sure to save the cartons and all packing materials in the event that subsequent
sale or repair necessitates re-shipping.
At this time, please fill in the warranty card, putting both serial nos. and the date of
purchase on the card. The serial numbers are on the rear of the speakers below the
input terminals and on the outside of the packing cartons.
Loudspeaker Placement
The Audio Note™ AN-E is a highly versatile loudspeaker which will provide satisfying
performance in most listening environments.
For optimal tonal balance, the AN-E should be used on a stand of 24 - 27cm (10
inches) in height, for best results, use spiked high-mass stands that can hold the
speaker so firmly that even if the top of the speaker is pushed, it will not move at
all. Alternatively, light open-frame stands will give decent results provided they have
spikes rigidly coupling them to the floor, (through carpet if present.)
The speakers should be coupled to the stand by placing four pea-sized balls of Blu
Tack on the stand’s top and pushing the speaker down onto these so that they are
flattened. (We have included some of this Blu Tack with the instructions and
warranty card.)
The AN-E has very wide dispersion which provides a great deal of flexibility in the
different rooms and set ups, and despite being a rear ported design it is designed for
corner or near wall, much of the set up process is therefore counter-intuitive in that
it works in the opposite way to “normal” loudspeaker set up (for example move the
speaker CLOSER to the rear wall will normally result in a tightening and deepening
of the bass reproduction), so bear that in mind when you do the initial set up and
later adjustments.
The AN-E has, as a result of its wide dispersion, a very wide listening window,
allowing considerable angling (or toe-in) to provide an evenly distributed energy
window between the speakers, by allowing adjustment of early side wall reflections
either to adjust the frequency content to coincide and underpin the direct sound, or
prevent those reflections from interfering with the direct sound from the speakers.
These reflections will greatly affect tonal and stereo balance and even relatively
small changes in the speaker’s angle and distance to the sidewall can change the
room interaction markedly.
To control these reflections, place the outer edges of the speakers as close to the
side wall as possible, shortening the time difference between direct sound and first
reflections as much as possible. The optimal angle at which the speakers are aimed
at the listener varies from room to room. The room size will have a particularly
marked influence on the angling and proximity to the side walls, where room layout
allows.
2
The object of the setting up exercise is to find a position where the speakers
pressurize the room in a similar way to that of natural instruments, this will restore a
much overlooked aspect of music reproduction: the actual pressure generated by
instruments, which is one of the main differences between “live” and “reproduced”.
Four main options, (presented from most to least desirable, all else being equal),
are:
1.) Starting with rooms where corner position is available:
Move the speaker to be as close to the side wall as possible, to the point of almost
touching the wall, with the speaker 5 – 10 centimeter (2-4 inches) from the rear
wall, toe the speakers in to aim 1-2 meters (3-6 feet) in front of the listener, now
play a record or CD with some bass content to see how the low frequencies come
across, then adjust the speaker angle to get a good and even energy spread
between the speakers.
2.) Then to rooms with only two real walls available, as a rule always fire down the
long length of the room wherever possible, otherwise also follow the clues below,
Place the speaker 5 – 10 centimeters (2-4 inches) from the rear wall, then toe them
in to aim almost directly at the listener, especially in large rooms this should be
tried, even in corner position, give them a listen, then move the speakers as far
apart from each other as the room allows, then play with the distance between the
speakers and the angle, to create the best possible balance (compromise) between
the bass response and the energy distribution between the speakers, (remember the
angle of the speaker to the wall can be anything from a few degrees to 45 degrees
or sometimes even more, depending on the distance between the speakers and the
distance to the listening position. Lastly try moving the speakers forward 5
centimeters (2 inches) to see how the bass behaves. Adjust the distance to the rear
wall to get the bass and deep and even as possible.
3.) Now to really difficult rooms, such as rooms where little or no wall space is
available or very long and narrow rooms for example,
Position the speaker facing each other, believe it or not the AN-E’s dispersion is so
good that this position in some rare instances work better than any alternatives, in a
narrow long room, the speakers can be positioned using the side walls the way the
rear walls are used in 2.) above, but with the speakers at a very steep angle (i.e.,
sharply toed in), seen from the listening position, then essentially follow the
instructions in 2.) above.
3
4.) Lastly rooms where the speaker can only be used free-standing, away from all
walls,
Due to our speaker’s near wall design requirements this is the least desirable
position, as it will not allow pressurization of the room in the way or to the extent we
intend, nor will it therefore give you the best frequency balance, however our
speakers still sound better than most in this, the most undesirable position, and as a
rule the speakers should be angled to cross about a meter in front of the listener
and form an equidistant triangle if used this way.
Needless to say, regardless of how thorough I try to be in these set
up instructions, experimentation is vitally important to achieve
optimum results in any given environment and over time as you
familiarize yourself with the sound of the speakers in your room you
will be able to refine and optimize the set up.
Connecting the AN-E
Before making any connections always turn off your amplifier!
The length and type of speaker cable used in your system will have an audible
effect. The AN-E is wired internally with a high quality Audio Note™ cable. It is
recommended that you use a similar type of speaker cable in order to maintain the
tonal balance and dynamic characteristics that we designed into the AN-E.
Although the binding posts on the back of the speakers accept bare wire, we
recommend that the cable be terminated with soldered 4mm banana plugs. Even if
the distance from the amplifier to each loudspeaker is different, we advise the use of
equal lengths of speaker cable to both speakers.
Correct phasing of the speakers is vital for sound quality. Your speakers
should be wired in phase with each other. Proper phasing will be assured if the
speaker cables connect the red speaker input to the plus (+) or “hot” amplifier
output terminals, and the black speaker input terminals to the negative (-) or
“ground” amplifier output terminals (see figure 1). Most speaker cables are
marked so that it is possible to distinguish between conductors by the colour of the
insulation or by a white stripe or small raised edge along one conductor.
Should you be interested in the absolute phase of your system, a positive voltage at
the red terminal of the speaker will cause all drivers to move outward, provided the
links are in place.
Very tight and positive connections are necessary. Care should be taken to
ensure that the connections are neat and that no strands from the two conductors
are allowed to touch.
4
At the rear of each speaker there are two pairs of red and black terminals marked
LF and HF. Your loudspeakers were shipped from the factory with these pairs
bridged by connecting links. The input to one pair of terminals will be fed to both
sets of terminals.
The facility to split the crossover on the AN-E allows the speakers to be operated in
a bi-wired or bi-amplifier mode.
The crossovers are split by removing the
connecting links between the HF and LF terminals on the rear of the speaker.
Bi-wiring (see Figure 2) involves running two sets of cables to the rear of each
speaker so that the LF section of the crossover is fed by one set and the HF section
by the other. Both sets of cable are attached together to the corresponding pair of
terminals on the back of the amplifier. It is strongly recommended that the same
type of speaker cable is used throughout.
5
Bi-amplifying involves using two stereo or four mono power amplifiers to drive the
loudspeakers. When using two stereo power amplifiers, or four monaural amplifiers,
it is possible to bi-amplify in three ways:
Figure 3 shows both channels of a stereo amplifier driving one loudspeaker system.
In the illustration, the right channel is driving the HF unit; the left channel drives the
LF unit. This would be repeated with the second stereo amplifier and the other
loudspeaker system.
Figure 4 shows an alternative method for using two stereo amplifiers to bi-amp
your Audio Note™ speakers. both channels of a stereo amplifier driving one
loudspeaker system. Using this method,, both channels of one stereo amplifier are
used to drive the HF units in the two loudspeakers while both channels of the second
stereo amplifier are used to drive the LF units in the two loudspeakers.
6
Lastly, as shown in Figure 5, four separate monaural amplifiers can be used, with
each amplifier driving a single loudspeaker driver. (Only the connections for one
loudspeaker are shown. Repeat for the other channel.)
PLEASE NOTE: Care must be taken when connecting the pre-amplifier
inputs to make sure that each loudspeaker receives either the Right or the
Left channel input and not a mix of the two. It is advisable to use amplifiers
of a similar quality and input sensitivity when bi-amping Audio Note™
loudspeakers.
Warranty Information
Save your purchase receipt! Your Audio Note™ AN-E loudspeakers are
warranted against faulty workmanship and material failure for 5 years from
date of purchase. The warranty is fully transferable, provided the original
receipt for the purchase can be produced.
7
Running-in Period (or Great Expectations)
While we fully expect your AN-E loudspeakers to produce beautiful music, they may
not do so from the first moment out of the box. Don’t be alarmed; it’s perfectly
normal.
Dynamic loudspeakers have a running in period, during which the drive units “loosen
up” – mainly consisting of the suspension working its way up to full, normal working
compliance. During this period, it may sound somewhat dry, bright and constricted.
That’s because the bass unit will not display its full lower bandwidth and the tweeter
will sound slightly brighter than normal at the outset, and to a lessening degree
throughout the running-in period. As the suspension of both drivers “softens up”,
the fullness of the bass and the smoothness of the treble will start to emerge and the
sound that has earned the E its enviable reputation will be revealed.
We expect the AN-E to have a running in period of about 100 hours – for the
average listener, this takes about a month, based on three hours of listening per
day. This period can however vary considerably due to factors such as, music
types, listening volume and type of amplification used. (Loud heavy metal or Mahler
symphonies are especially effective!)
If the rest of your system is of commensurate quality, you may notice that when you
haven’t played your AN-E’s for a week or longer, they seem to experience a lesser
version of this running-in process again. Everything will be completely back to
normal within 5 to 10 hours.
Care and Maintenance of your AN-E loudspeakers
Care should be taken when using the loudspeakers with very high-powered
amplifiers. Although the AN-E is reasonably tolerant and has high power handling, it
is also very efficient and therefore requires considerably less power than other
similarly priced loudspeakers.
If audible distortion occurs the amplifier or the
loudspeaker is being overloaded and damage is likely to result.
Should you be unfortunate enough to experience failure of a drive unit, either by
accident or misuse, please ensure that it is replaced with an original Audio Note™
drive unit replacement kit and that the relevant parts of the crossover are also
replaced. This will preserve the extremely tight driver and crossover component
matching established in manufacturing, and thereby maintain the speaker’s
performance.
The durable finish of your
minimal attention. Wiping
general cleaning that is
veneered surface of your
speakers will maintain its appearance for many years with
your cabinet down with a damp, lint free cloth is all the
required. We recommend that you annually wax the
speakers.
Keep the speakers away from radiators or other heat sources and avoid prolonged
exposure to direct sunlight.
8
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